Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Guest Post: Jeanne and Treadmill Books: Magical Cats Mysteries by Sofie Kelly

Jeanne of the Bookblog of the Bristol Library is back today with her latest review…

Treadmill Books:  Magical Cats Mysteries by Sofie Kelly

When Kathleen Paulson moved from Boston to accept a temporary job as librarian in Mayfield Heights, Minnesota, she had no idea that her life was going to change forever.  For one thing, she ended up adopting two Houdini-esque cats who excel at escaping confinement … almost as if they had special powers.  Ahem.  The temporary job turns permanent, she makes a lot of friends, and –this being a mystery series—becomes involved in a lot of murder investigations.

Kathleen is a sensible heroine, possibly because her actor parents were the ones in charge of drama.  Her family looms largest in the earlier books, fading in importance as new characters are introduced and developed. (They do make appearances and are sometimes invoked in conversation, just not as often—which is only natural.) She has a number of friends of various ages and backgrounds as well as a love interest in one of the local cops.  The cats are adept investigators, even if Kathleen is hesitant to credit them with solving any crimes.  It’s just luck.  Really.

I had gotten behind and hadn’t picked up one of these titles for a couple of years, so I wondered if I’d remember enough about the characters and situations. I needn’t have worried.  Kelly’s style flows smoothly and she’s very good at getting readers up to speed without dragging things out.  I particularly enjoy the way that she handles relationships, especially female friendships which seem natural and fun instead of stilted and self-conscious as they are in some books.  I also appreciate that there is some effort to give readers a little sense of what working in a library entails, though I have to say that the library ends up closed a lot so Kathleen can continue her sleuthing.

There’s also a reasonable sense of place and a good assortment of supporting characters.  Besides the aforementioned female friends and beau, there are a few “local color” types and, of course, the cats.

Owen and Hercules are charming and full of personality.  They don’t talk, but are quite good at getting their messages across.  There’s also a bit of sibling rivalry going on between the two, especially when one of the funky catnip chickens is involved.

The mysteries are well done, but for me it’s the characters that make this series. They do keep me walking, so I give this series a treadmill thumbs up. I don’t think the books need to read in order, but I generally prefer to do it that way. I’m still two books behind, but it’s turning cold and rainy so I anticipate I’ll be doing a lot of treadmill trudging.  Good thing I have books for the journey.

Note:  This series has just made the leap into hardcover for the first time with A Tale of Two Kitties.

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